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Thread: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

  1. #1
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    Default New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Do LTA think the crack down will work? Prominent Taxi stand will help?
    I think the many Taxi will still go on "Busy", hiding, refuse to stop at taxi stand during peak hour at night in town area.


    Quote Originally Posted by www.straitstimes.com
    New crackdown on errant taxi drivers
    Slew of measures to improve taxi services will include stiffer penalties for touting, overcharging and more taxi stands in CBD, no hailing of taxis on streets
    ERRANT taxi drivers who tout, overcharge or refuse to pick up passengers will face stiffer penalties under a slew of measures introduced by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to improve taxi services.
    The LTA has also stepped up its enforcement at numerous entertainment 'hotspots', such as Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Orchard Towers, Sentosa, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and other places where errant taxi drivers take advantage of high demand for taxis during certain times to openly tout for business and overcharge their passengers, especially tourists.
    As part of its crackdown, the LTA is is currently investigating about 80 taxi drivers who solicited for passengers, overcharged or refused to pick up passengers in October and November, some of whom are repeat offenders.
    The vocational licences of these recalcitrant taxi drivers will be suspended and revoked if they are found guilty, said LTA in a statement on Monday.
    'The LTA will also raise the penalties imposed on taxi drivers who are found guilty of soliciting for passengers, overcharging or refusing to convey passengers without reasonable justification.'


    'This is to emphasise the seriousness of the offences and to protect the reputation of the majority of honest taxi drivers who abide by the rules,' said LTA.
    From Nov 19, errant taxi drivers will face stiffer fines and higher demerit points, and even immediate suspension of their licence under the Taxi Vocational Licence Point System and (VLPS).
    Repeat offenders of soliciting and overcharging within 24 months will result in the revocation of the taxi driver's vocational licence.
    The tougher measures were made in consultation with taxi companies and taxi driver associations, who have expressed support for the stringent measures against errant taxi drivers, said LTA.
    Mr Yang Ban Seng, Chief Executive Officer, Taxi Business, ComfortDelGro, which operates more than 65 per cent of the taxis in Singapore, said: 'We are fully supportive of LTA's tougher penalties. This measure is timely and it will serve as a strong deterrent.
    'It also supports the strict disciplinary actions that we have been taking against our errant drivers.'
    Added Mr Lim Chong Boo, Managing Director of Premier Taxis: 'We support LTA's efforts to impose tougher penalties on recalcitrant drivers who blatantly flout the rules and affect the livelihood of our other colleagues'.
    Also supporting the new measures, Mr Foo Chi Yong, Chairman of the Premier Taxi Operators' Association, said that members had 'requested us to urge the LTA to help the taxi industry weed out these errant drivers that have damaged the reputations of all taxi drivers.'
    'We believe that these tougher penalties are necessary to restore the public's confidence in the taxi industry and have encouraged our members to report errant taxi drivers to LTA,' he added.
    Mr Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive of LTA, urged taxi commuters to play their part by reporting errant taxi drivers to LTA.
    'In this way, there will be no opportunity for taxi drivers to tout. In the meantime, LTA will continue to liaise with the taxi companies to better match supply and demand of taxis at the 'hotspots',' he said.
    Taxi advisories for the public
    To raise awareness among taxi commuters that touting for passengers is an offence, advisories will be prominently displayed at taxi stands and at other 'hotspots' from Dec 1.
    LTA will also encourage all taxi companies to display the advisories inside their taxis. The advisories will carry LTA's hotline number (1800-CALL LTA or 1800-225 5582) to make it easy for passengers, tourists and the public to give feedback or report errant taxi drivers.
    Welcoming these measures, Mr Chia Hock Peng, President of the SMRT Taxi Operators' Association said: 'These are timely measures and we support them. We hope the small number of errant drivers will take these deterrents seriously and stop giving the industry a bad name.'
    As part of the measures to improve taxi services within the CBD, LTA will add 15 more taxi stands by end December, so that there will be a taxi stand within 300 metres or a five-minute walk from buildings within the CBD.
    Currently, there are 80 taxi stands or stops in the CBD.
    The LTA, together with the taxi companies and taxi driver associations, will identify more locations for taxi stands, to make it easier for commuters to hail a taxi from a taxi stand and to increase commuters' safety.
    This also reduces the incidents of taxis infringing onto bus lanes to pick up passengers or indiscriminately stopping and contributing to traffic congestion.
    With more taxi stands within the CBD, street hail of taxis on roads within the CBD will be disallowed from Mar 1.
    From that date, taxis can only pick up or alight passengers at taxi stands and along private driveways, even when on call booking.
    In preparation for this new measure, LTA will coordinate with the taxi companies and taxi driver associations to encourage drivers to pick up passengers from taxi stands.
    LTA said it will fully phase in the taxi Quality of Service (QoS) standards, introduced in 2003 to monitor the performance of taxi companies in three areas - 'Availability of Taxis via Radiophone Booking', 'Safety' and 'Customer Satisfaction'.
    It has since January extended the monitoring of taxi companies' performance on radiophone booking service by another three hours, from 5 pm - 8 pm to 5 pm - 11 pm.
    The standards were introduced progressively to allow the taxi companies sufficient time to meet the full standards after one year. For the first six months of 2007, the standard was set at 70 per cent for the radiophone booking service under the QoS standards.
    It was raised to 80 per cent from July to December. From Jan 1, the full Taxi QoS standards will apply to the taxi companies.
    Taxi Mystery Customer Audit
    As part of its on-going efforts to improve taxi services, the LTA also introduced a mystery audit of taxi services.
    The mystery audit is carried out on taxi trips taken by auditors and its findings will complement the feedback received through commuter surveys.
    The audits are conducted on a quarterly basis and assess taxi drivers on service attributes, conduct, driving skills and familiarity with routes. The audit started in October and the results will be out in January. With the audit findings, LTA will require the taxi companies and associations to improve taxi service standards so that commuters can experience a pleasant journey.
    Last edited by zcf; 12th November 2007 at 05:41 PM.
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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Define plz.

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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn View Post
    Define plz.
    Define which or what?
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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by zcf View Post
    Define which or what?
    hahaha.... the guy earlier deleted his post liaoz. He said, "Aiyah sure got hidden agenda one."

    Anyway back to topic, think LTA shld simply say, "Don't let us catch you. If you're caught, we will take every single step to ensure that there will never be another taxi company who's willing to hire you anymore and you can forget about even being a relief driver."

    And if any taxi company's caught hiring the same drivers, they'll be fined like $10K for each offender hired.
    For those individual taxi drivers caught hiring ex-offenders as relief drivers, they'll be fined like $5K and license suspended for 1mth.

    Guarantee you everyone will stick to the rules one.

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    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn View Post
    hahaha.... the guy earlier deleted his post liaoz. He said, "Aiyah sure got hidden agenda one."

    Anyway back to topic, think LTA shld simply say, "Don't let us catch you. If you're caught, we will take every single step to ensure that there will never be another taxi company who's willing to hire you anymore and you can forget about even being a relief driver."

    And if any taxi company's caught hiring the same drivers, they'll be fined like $10K for each offender hired.
    For those individual taxi drivers caught hiring ex-offenders as relief drivers, they'll be fined like $5K and license suspended for 1mth.

    Guarantee you everyone will stick to the rules one.
    But still not possible when they do these in Johor Bahru which I hate them for it each time I want to come back after visiting my working sites there.

  6. #6

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    There's a simple solution at least to the "hiding for call" problem.

    1. Install a GPS unit on taxis (some probably already have)
    2. Driver can opt to choose either "ACTIVE" or "INACTIVE" states
    3. ACTIVE state: Can receive incoming booking calls. BUT, must not be stationery in the same location for more than 15 minutes, failing which a "booking call blackout period" penalty of 60 minutes will ensue. During this penalty, the driver will NOT receive any bookings whatsoever.
    4. INACTIVE state: This is a state for the driver to take a break. During this state, NO booking calls will be received.

    This is just an arbitrary measure I jotted down. I'm sure there are many other cost-effective ways to achieve the same thing. Sadly, I doubt the taxi companies really give much of a sh*t, as they earn as much from cab drivers.

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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    I thought the following structure would be good enuff to deter any potential wannabe cabbies who wanna join tout groups....

    Refuse to pick up passenger
    $500 fine, demerit 8 points, license suspend 2wks

    Touting
    $1000 fine, demerit 21pts, instant suspension for 4wks

    Extortion (regardless of amount)
    $2000 fine, demerit 42pts, charged in court for fraud, minimum jail term 3mths, suspend taxi license, cannot work as taxi driver anymore under any company.

    Touting Groups (once busted)
    $20,000 fine for everyone in the group, demerit 63pts, charged in court, minimum jail term 1yr, suspend taxi license AND driving license of all vehicle classes, cannot work as taxi driver anymore under any company

    And to prevent any false accusations by passengers of any sort, all Taxis must have tamper-proof voice & video recording 'black boxes' installed. The black box runs on battery power and is always on. All black boxes must be checked by LTA once every month.

  8. #8

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn View Post
    And to prevent any false accusations by passengers of any sort, all Taxis must have tamper-proof voice & video recording 'black boxes' installed. The black box runs on battery power and is always on. All black boxes must be checked by LTA once every month.
    Most likely an excuse to increase the fare.

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    Senior Member Big Kahuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Increase the supply.....This works in Taiwan, there taxi driver beg for business.....they even give discount when on call or radio....their service and also

  10. #10

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Kahuna View Post
    Increase the supply.....This works in Taiwan, there taxi driver beg for business.....they even give discount when on call or radio....their service and also
    But our cabbies are incorrigible when it comes to hiding, super experts! They seem to be masters of urban warfare, know exactly where to hide and wait for calls.

  11. #11

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Just to share what I overheard from the conversation between two MRT commuters regarding this news:

    5 foreign tourists took a cab. The fare was about 18 dollars. Guess what, the cab driver added 10 bucks to fare and multiplied by 5 (because 5 passengers mah).

    So the reaping of the day for him was 28x5. Of course, it was later discovered and the cab driver was pok (fired).

    Apart from some black sheep in the industry, there are also black sheep in the passengers. When I take cabs, sometimes cabbies complain about this and that. Aunties saying they will go to their flats to take money but never come down to pay, some are outside the taxi stand and still complain to the taxi company when the taxi doesn't stop for them, etc... heard a lot of tales...

  12. #12

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by leejay View Post
    Just to share what I overheard from the conversation between two MRT commuters regarding this news:

    5 foreign tourists took a cab. The fare was about 18 dollars. Guess what, the cab driver added 10 bucks to fare and multiplied by 5 (because 5 passengers mah).

    So the reaping of the day for him was 28x5. Of course, it was later discovered and the cab driver was pok (fired).

    Apart from some black sheep in the industry, there are also black sheep in the passengers. When I take cabs, sometimes cabbies complain about this and that. Aunties saying they will go to their flats to take money but never come down to pay, some are outside the taxi stand and still complain to the taxi company when the taxi doesn't stop for them, etc... heard a lot of tales...
    i thot taxi are only allowed to take 4 passengers?

  13. #13

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    They should catch them all. I really hate such corruption... the cabbies are also abusing the system.

    one way of coz is to take down their license number. double check with the Cab companies and then to see if they are on call or not. Catching them and give them a heavy punishment till be good. Create a blacklist to share among all the cab companies also, so that they cannot be hired again.

    Dont want to drive taxi ?? then become coolies.

  14. #14

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenscapes View Post
    i thot taxi are only allowed to take 4 passengers?
    Yeah, maybe there are kids?

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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    This is what happens to 'errant' taxidrivers in Iraq:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071112/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq

    HS

  16. #16

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunbucker View Post
    There's a simple solution at least to the "hiding for call" problem.

    1. Install a GPS unit on taxis (some probably already have)
    2. Driver can opt to choose either "ACTIVE" or "INACTIVE" states
    3. ACTIVE state: Can receive incoming booking calls. BUT, must not be stationery in the same location for more than 15 minutes, failing which a "booking call blackout period" penalty of 60 minutes will ensue. During this penalty, the driver will NOT receive any bookings whatsoever.
    4. INACTIVE state: This is a state for the driver to take a break. During this state, NO booking calls will be received.

    This is just an arbitrary measure I jotted down. I'm sure there are many other cost-effective ways to achieve the same thing. Sadly, I doubt the taxi companies really give much of a sh*t, as they earn as much from cab drivers.
    In fact I was thinking of this - make booking unavailable for hours like 8pm-12midnight for certain areas like shopping malls or Orchard. These are the peak period where they should be lots of customer around. Theres no reason for booking to be honest. Moreover we are already paying PEAK hour charges if we take taxis during those hours. There should be tons of taxi available on the road. If demand is more than supply, taxi companies should continue to field more onto the road.

    Or make booking only available 1 or 2 hours in advance. That means one cannot make booking and expect a taxi in 5-10 mins.

    I have traveled to quite a few countries. I rarely have the need to book a taxi unless I am in a very remote location.

    O well, I guess theres never a perfect environment

  17. #17
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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    I would suggest to just scrap the call booking fees, increase the peak surcharge. Scrap the ERP for empty Taxi or public transport all the way. ERP is to controlled traffic, Public Transport is to help with the traffic.
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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    The problems are not going to be solved. FINE FINE FINE! IF NOT, JAIL JAIL JAIL! When are we going to do things differently? No wonder Singapore is a FINE CITY!

    The problem is ERP. Cabs have to pay the cost if they enter ERP, and many will avoid it if possible. They go somewhere else. This will create problems for those in the ERP areas at certain time of the day. Nowadays, ERP is everywhere, not only at city area, sooner or later it will be extended to HDB areas (Ang Mo Kio already has ERP ). Hence, many taxis have to choose where they go, they can't go wherever they like.

    If letting public transport enter the ERP freely will solve the problems, why not? Does collecting more tax from ERP more important than solving present problems which will impact not only locals but also the tourism sector? I think they need to think out of the box, instead of using the same old formulas "FINE FINE FINE AND MORE FINE".

    Those who implement policy did not take into consideration of the shift problems. How are taxis drivers going to not reject passengers if they are going to change shift in the area that are different from the passengers' destinations? Fine them? That's unreasonable.

    I would suggest they talk with cabbys and understand the problems, rather than sitting in the office and implement policies.
    Last edited by johnlim; 13th November 2007 at 12:09 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    Lets not get too excited over fine. I fully agree that it shouldnt be used solely to resolve issues but it does serve as a deterrent to those who are thinking of doing things wrong. In any situation, there are always black sheep and there should be a FINE system to make these people understand whatever they are doing is wrong.

    On the other hand, I do agree the current system is flawed in certain ways. If taxis are supposed to be portrayed as a public transportation, then ERP should be waived for these cabbies. The advantages are it will encourage more taxis to drive into city area to pick customers . And also if ERP is waived for taxis, people will be encouraged to use taxis more as a means of public transportation rather to own a car. That will be win win win for all. Win for cabbies because more pple will take taxis, Win for consumers since we should be seeing more taxis if the ERP is waived for them in city. And last but not least, win for the government who is trying to find a means of controlling the number of cars in Singapore

    Of course there are always downsides, thats what IF the cabby uses the taxi for own personal use etc. Well, that will be something for the taxi companies to think about

  20. #20
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    Default Re: New crackdown on errant taxi drivers

    I have once seated outside the taxi stand at marina square (outside the 7-11) for 1hr and 20mins while waiting for a cab during a Friday evening around 6-7plus...

    All those around me are either grumbling or picking up their mobiles to book for a cab... of course i was one of those grumbling...

    and all the while, i keep seeing taxi which are totally empty with e green sign zooming pass the taxi stand and not turning in despite the long queue...

    I sure hope this new system works...

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